Rome bans "sexist advertising" to appear within city limits.

On Monday Rome Mayor Ignazio Marino announced a new regulatory plan on advertising in the city of Rome, which will take effect in the coming days. To quote the mayor, advertising space would be prohibited to those who "use women's bodies or launch sexist messages".

"City advertising space will be able to be sold only to those who respect the rules in the new regulatory plan and so a woman's body can't be associated with images that objectify it or portray it in a sexist way"

Marino said.

This is in Rome, where the Jesus Jeans ads outraged people in the 70s. The "Who loves me follow me" jean ad was created in 1971 by Oliviero Toscani - speaker at the recent D&AD judging week - and Emanuele Pirella. This famous photo was later homaged by Elio Fiorucci's jeans label in 1985, where the patchwork jean shorts became the look of an era.

Mayor Marino reviewed the city's advertising code with respect to the "Friendly Images Award" (Premio Immagini Amiche) promoted by the Women's Union in Italy (UDI) and the Office of Information of the European Parliament in Italy, aimed at promoting communication that "goes beyond stereotypes".

So how will brands launch their hot accessories? In Rome, they will no longer be able to create billboards of Nora Fleming's naked behind photographed by Roger Corona to sell fluffy handcuffs. But they may still be able to be chosen by Italian weekly Panorama, for the cover image, as happened in 1995. No word yet what this means for the Italian talk show babes tradition which began in the Berlusconi founded TV & mass media company Mediaset.

The advertising images in this article are yet another example of the many bare bottoms in advertising. A common sight, that has often gotten us in trouble, stemming way back to the the Opium ad of 2001. We are now permabanned from Google Adsense due to this article about PETA's misogynist ads.

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Anonymous Adgrunt's picture
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Tom Megginson's picture

I'm curious if this applies to all nudity, or only highly sexualized female nudity? Because in Italy (in the '90s) I saw bare breasts in out-of-home advertising for everything from nylons to baby clothes. They were kind of just there.

Dabitch's picture

That's the thing, the mayor has made this statement but not elaborated on precisely what is meant by use women's bodies or launch sexist messages - if you can't use women's bodies at all, pretty much all nylon billboard will be extinct as they usually simply show legs in various nylon colors. They haven't defined what is a sexist message either, we've debated what gender stereotypes are actually sexist in advertising for years now.

Tom Megginson's picture

That's a problem, especially in a fairly body-positive society.

Dabitch's picture

Italy has changed a lot since the 90s. This documentary may interest you, it's about Berlusconi's media impact.

Tom Megginson's picture


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